Tile and Grout: How Not To Do It To Yourself when you Do It Yourself

Category: Homefront | Comments Off on Tile and Grout: How Not To Do It To Yourself when you Do It Yourself


You can learn a lot by doing things wrong the first time.

Lessons learned when installing/refinishing tile flooring and walls:

  1. Using a Dremel tool (Model 400 with ceramic tile accessory) is expensive, loud and slow. A DAP grout saw blade is cheap, quiet, fast and very effective. When it is elegance versus brutality, brutality usually wins.
  2. Mixing un-sanded grout before watching (one of many) You-Tube videos to learn ‘how thick’ the grout needs to be prior to application results in re-work. You-Tube is your friend for all kinds of DIY projects. Follow the mixing directions. The ending grout blend consistency¬† should be like a paste that falls from your trowel after three shakes.
  3. Use a grout float and a margin float in corners to apply with pressure at 45 degree angle to the tile lines.
  4. Letting newly-applied grout dry and cure without sponging off the excess within an hour or so is a preview of Dante’s Inferno or like Sisyphus rolling a rock up a hill. Not fun.
  5. Muriatic acid (used for pools, available at Home Depot and swimming pool supply stores) eats grout, stinks like Hell and saves a lot of floor scraping / grout sawing. Used as a clean-up solvent applied with a sponge (see #3 above) it’s a good thing to know about in case you are like me and skip a few installation instructions.
  6. Start new flooring in the center with a chalk line for the first alignment tile. Use polymer spacers to keep the rest of the project square. Rent a water-cooled tile saw to rim the edge pieces at the perimeter.
  7. Do not underestimate the value of a waterproofing grout sealer. I hope to find such a formula that will prevent me from ever having to do this again.

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